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Jun 6, 2013 03:46 PM

Anniversary Dinner + Long Weekend in Manhattan


My husband and I live in Toronto and are spending our first anniversary in Manhattan. We love to eat out at home, and have been to New York a few times before. Would love some suggestions for:

1) A nice dinner in Manhattan for the night of our anniversary. Restaurants we've been looking at include Jean-Georges (though that is really too expensive for us), Perla, Per Se, Corton. Somewhere that feels a little bit special, but still with a bit of a cool vibe and not too too stuffy!

2) Any other suggestions for brunch/lunch/dinners in Manhattan and/or Brooklyn. Maybe looking for slightly more casual options, since we'll have a nice dinner the night of our anniversary. Places we've been and liked include Cafeteria, Osteria Morini, Spotted Pig, Nobu, Meatball Shop. Places we're looking at trying include Rosemary's, ABC Kitchen, The Butcher's Daughter, Da Silvano. Open to anything!

Looking forward to hearing some suggestions! Thanks so much!

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  1. I know absolutely everyone will mock me, but there is something very glam about dinner at The Darby. The live band is a wedding band + and it's very old feel in general to dine to a live band. It is NOT a cheesy wedding band. They are really something. We went for my birthday this year and it was really a whole experience. It's fun, it's different, the food was very good and there's a cool bar underneath for drinks and people watching ( and canoodling??)
    Last Spring, we celebrated some wonderful things that came The Husband's way with a dinner at The Lion. We loved it!!

    I'm not saying either of these are on level with what you have listed above in your #1 category, just something different to consider. Along the lines of what you named in your number 1 category would be Blue Hill, perhaps? Babbo?


    1. Hi Meggers 12!

      First off, when is your trip? What's your budget, per person, before tax, tip, wine, drinks?

      Feel free to break out your budget between the anniversary dinner & the more casual meals.

      Note that upscale/high end places tend to book about a month in advance. Most serve weekday lunch (but not weekend lunch), and serve dinner Monday through Saturday, and are usually closed Sundays, though there are a few exceptions to the "closed Sundays" rule (ex: Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Jean George).

      So if you simply must celebrate on the actual date of your anniversary, be sure to plan well in advance.

      For something special, but still cool, and not too stuffy, I'd look into the NoMad. Great cocktails and atmosphere, from the same people who run 11 Madison Park.

      2. Again, a budget will help here. Also, it sounds like you are OK with waiting for a table?

      ABC Kitchen is good but popular, so make sure to reserve as soon as you are able. ABC Cocina also just opened, perhaps it will make the ABC Kitchen crowds smaller.

      If you like Osteria Morini, you might enjoy the same chef's newest restaurant, Costata, an Italian steakhouse.

      If you enjoyed Spotted Pig, I'd look at chef Bloomfield's other restaurants: the Breslin as well as the John Dory and Salvation Taco.

      I would also recommend the creative Japanese dishes at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya.

      Some of my recent favorites at roughly $40-50pp for food only, include Public, L'Artusi, Txikito, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Empellon Cocina, Recette, Louro, Montmarte, Fedora, Kin Shop, Tertulia. Shareable plates, a fun/upbeat/young but sophisticated vibe, creative chefs.

      My favorite unique places in NY serve Xian (Chinese) food, Issan (Thai) food, organic/local/sustainable Japanese BBQ, authentic Basque (Spanish) tapas, creative diner food, pretzels, hot dogs, halal food, steak, upscale rustic Italian, Italian subs, creative Italian-American, high end non-sushi Japanese (like kaiseki), creative desserts, molecular gastronomy, mixology/creative cocktails, and creative brunches (sometimes every day of the week).

      Best breakfast/brunch in NYC: It is (IMO) at the Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern.

      1. The first thing to pop into my head when thinking of a celebration dinner that is considerably less expensive than Jean-Georges would be Tocqueville. I would also recommend Annisa, but it books up long in advance so will depend on when you are coming (if Opentable shows no availability for the time you want, give them a call, sometimes they can fit you in).

        1. Thanks so much for the great suggestions MRS, kathryn, and rrems!! We have started to narrow things down; would love to know your thoughts on what we have planned so far. Also, we will be there the weekend of June 29th. We're hoping to keep it somewhere around $350 the night of the 29th (our anniversary). As long as the other meals are less than that we aren't worried about price.

          Thursday Dinner: in NJ visiting my sister-in-law; she's picking

          Friday Brunch: Clinton St. Baking Co.

          Friday Lunch: La Esquina

          Friday Dinner: Perla or Locanda Verde?

          Saturday Brunch: Russ & Daughters (grab on our way to Williamsburg)

          Saturday Lunch: Five Leaves or Roebling Tea Room?

          Saturday Dinner: Annisa (10pm) OR Tocqueville (9pm) - can't decide!

          Sunday Brunch:

          Sunday Lunch (in Montauk): Ditch Witch

          Sunday Dinner (in Montauk): Harvest on Fort Pond

          Monday Brunch (in Montauk):

          Monday Lunch (in Montauk): Sloppy Tuna

          2 Replies
          1. re: Meggers12

            Because you're only coming in 3 weeks, I'd reserve ASAP at Locanda Verde if you want to go there.

            Perla's reservations also go pretty fast, but at least they're 14 days in advance -- set an alarm/reminder for when you need to call. For example, on Friday June 21, they only have 4:30pm left right now.

            For Williamsburg, you'll need to post on the Outer Boroughs board. Brunch lines can get really long there, though.

            For Montauk, you need to post to the NY State board.

            1. re: Meggers12

              Annisa vs. Tocqueville i a tough one. Annisa will cost less, and the food is a bit more inventive, with Asian influences. The room is attractive but simple in decor. Tocqueville is a more formal room, more plush. Service at both is proper but not stuffy. You can easily get away with $350 total at Tocqueville, $250 or less at Annisa. Hope this helps.